A Comprehensive Website for News Headlines

The below site, while not covering everything, does offers a lot of info in one place.

Newspaper Headlines:

http://www.marcellus-shale.us/Gas-Drilling_NEWS.htm

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DEP finally waking up

PA Must Take Action to Protect Water Resources from Drilling Wastewater, Other Sources of TDS Pollution

Proposed Rules will Help Keep Drinking Water, Streams and Rivers Clean

HARRISBURG — High levels of total dissolved solids pollution from natural gas drilling and other sources pose a real threat to Pennsylvania’s streams and rivers, including aquatic life, warned Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger today. “The treating and disposing of gas drilling brine and fracturing wastewater is a significant challenge for the natural gas industry because of its exceptionally high TDS concentrations,” said Hanger. “Marcellus drilling is growing rapidly and our rules must be strengthened now to prevent our waterways from being seriously harmed in the future.” Hanger pointed to recent examples where TDS impaired streams and affected major sources of drinking water….

To read the full DEP release, click here:
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/newsroom/14287?id=10349&typeid=1

PennDOT Closing Elk Run Road to Gas Well Traffic

PennDOT is advising motorists in Tioga County that State Route 3001
(Elk Run Road) in Gaines Township is being temporarily closed to gas
well traffic due to severe deterioration.

The road is open to local traffic only until repairs are made.

Responsible parties are being contacted to facilitate repairs to restore
the roadway to a safe and passable condition for the traveling public.

This road carries a year-round, 10-ton weight restriction.

Natural Gas: Not as clean as you think

Just in case you’ve seen the television ads being run by ANGA (America’s Natural Gas Alliance) and think they are telling you the whole story….here’s some of the other side.

http://wilderness.org/content/natural-gas-not-clean-you-think

Use your feet…

Here is an email from the Responsible Drilling Alliance out of Williamsport, PA. please follow the link at the end of the message for more info.

Use your feet to protect our rivers.

Have your feet take you to the hearing in Williamsport on December 16th to support, with your presence, the proposed new rule for Total Dissolved Solids for gas industry wastewater.  Gas drilling waste water is extremely high in TDS.  Under current rules they are allowed to discharge this TDS content directly into the river.  The new proposed rules would greatly limit new TDS discharges.

Not surprisingly these new proposed rules have come under quite a bit of pressure from a number of industries not just the gas drillers.  It is important to note that these new rules will not apply to existing water discharges so they will not put anyone out of business. Only new discharges or large modifications to existing plants will come under them.

This September, more than forty miles Dunkard Creek in western PA was cleared of almost all its fish and other aquatic animal life by the toxins of an invasive algae.  Golden Algae, the culprit,  needed high levels of TDS’s to thrive. Last summer, even before the fish kill,  the Monongahela  River exceeded the TDS standard for potable water intake and its bromide content level required a health advisory to be issued.

Strong public support is needed to counteract industry’s efforts to lower the proposed standards.    We all need to show up to the hearing and speak or send in written comments.  Instructions on how at bottom of this email.

December 16, 2009
5 p.m.
Department of Environmental  Protection
Northcentral Regional Office
Goddard Conference Room
208 West Third Street,
Suite 101
Williamsport, PA 17701-6448

http://pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol39/39-45/2065.html

Next Years Severance Tax (better late than never?)

House to focus on drilling issues next year

by robert swift (harrisburg bureau chief)
Published: December 1, 2009

HARRISBURG – House Democratic leaders are making taxation and regulation of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation top priorities next year.

The effort will get started with statewide hearings by the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and House Democratic Policy Committee, said Majority Leader Todd Eachus, D-116, Hazleton.

A renewed push to enact a state severance tax on gas production as well as legislation to address drilling-related issues ranging from protection of water supplies to royalties for landowners is part of the legislative focus.

“We are going to take up the issue of the Marcellus Shale extraction tax,” added Eachus in a recent interview. “We really think the development of the Marcellus Shale should have a social benefit.”

Interest in the impact of drilling activities in the Marcellus formation underlying Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania built steadily this year stemming both from fiscal concerns over the large state revenue deficit and environmental concerns highlighted by the recent federal lawsuit by 15 families in Susquehanna County alleging that Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. damaged their health and property.

Earlier this year, Gov. Ed Rendell proposed a five percent severance tax modeled on the West Virginia levy while the Department of Environmental Protection hired additional gas well inspectors with revenue from a fee hike on oil and gas exploration permits.

Rendell eventually said it would be premature to implement a severance tax for fiscal 2009-10, but House Democrats rallied behind the idea and included it in their version of the budget bill. The final $27.8 billion budget is without a severance tax. This is mainly due to because of opposition from Republican lawmakers who said a tax would discourage drilling companies from creating new jobs.

Rendell thinks the timing is right to include a severance tax as part of the 2010-11 budget, said John Hanger, acting Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.

“The governor is open to what the details of the severance tax would be,” he added.

One unresolved issue is the distribution of severance tax revenues.

“My (bill) would devote gas revenues to both the municipality and the county where natural gas is extracted, the Liquid Fuels Fund (for local road work), as well as to LIHEAP (low-income heating), environmental stewardship and state government,” said Rep. Camille George, D-74, Houtzdale, the environmental panel chairman.

Other drilling issues await Harrisburg’s attention.

George wants action to protect the existing 12.5 percent royalty to property owners for gas production on their land. He is awaiting a decision from the state Supreme Court on whether the royalty is to be calculated after deducting post-production expenses such as processing, marketing and transportion from the producer’s proceeds.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Natural Gas Development Resource

http://gasleasing.cce.cornell.edu/index.html

This site provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension Natural Gas Development Resource Center has a lot of good info on it. Most of the events are old but the info about them is still there and as you scroll down the page there are links to other resources as well as explanations of answers to a lot of the questions that local residents have. If you are just starting to get involved with educating yourself or others on this topic it’s a great site to check out.